Agatha Christie Books In Order
Publication Order of Hercule Poirot Books
Publication Order of Hercule Poirot Collections
Publication Order of Miss Marple Books
Publication Order of Miss Marple Collections
Publication Order of Tommy and Tuppence Books
h2>Publication Order of Tommy and Tuppence Collections
Publication Order of Superintendent Battle Books
Publication Order of Standalone Novels
Publication Order of Short Story Collections
Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books
About Agatha Christie:
Agatha Christie was born in Ashfield. Agatha grew up in the town of Torquay in southwest England. She taught herself how to read at five years old even though her mother didn’t want her to do so until she was eight. She was home-schooled, which was a lot more uncommon at the turn of the 20th century than it is now. Her father was her primary teacher, but her mother was a storyteller—and gave strong encouragement for Agatha to write. Although she became a prolific writer, she claimed she really did not have much in the way of lessons other than arithmetic.
Although she did not have the social experience of public school, she studied dance and piano as a teenager. She was too shy to perform. Her first published writing happened when she was 11. It was a poem about electric trams. She was very clever at inventing ways to keep occupied. She has been quoted as saying, “There is nothing like boredom to inspire you to write.” She had written a number of short stories by the time she was 17.
In 1910, at 20, Christie spent winter months in Egypt with her mother. Her time there influenced the rest of her life. In 1914, she married Archibald Christie, who was a Lt. Colnel. Archibald returned to military service right after their marriage, and Agatha was later to say that she felt her married life really began in 1918—when her husband was stationed in London.
She began writing detective fiction while working as a nurse during World War 1. The confusion and sadness of the patients she tended affected her deeply, and her knowledge of poison and drugs is seen again and again in her novels. During quiet periods at the hospital, she started writing in response to her sister’s statement of long past that she could not write a detective story.
The author’s mother died in 1926, not long before Archibald left Agatha for another woman. He was in Spain when her mother died and seemed completely indifferent to her feelings and grief. He told her of his affair and love for Nancy Neel (an acquaintance) immediately upon returning from Spain. The couple seemed to overcome this and try to stay together. They moved to Styles. But after a few months, she left her house and disappeared after a huge fight. There was an extensive search, with some thinking she was dead and others speculating she was alive. When it was discovered she was indeed alive, there was speculation that she did it to either spite her husband or gain publicity for her latest novel. This episode of Agatha’s life is perhaps the most talked about and less known.
She later married Max Mallowan, an archeologist. They spent over a decade in Assyria, at an archeological dig. They travelled back to England at least once a year. Mallowan and Christie bought several homes and lived in several flats over the years. Their final home was a large Georgian house near Torquay, not far from Agatha’s childhood home. In 1936, Mallowan was part of an expedition which dug up seventy cuneiform tablets. The couple traveled back and forth between England and the Middle East quite extensively.
Agatha returned to serving as a nurse during World War II. Her one child, Rosalind, was named after a female hero from a Shakespeare play. Rosalind had a significant share in Agatha’s company that controlled the rights to her works.
In 1954, Christie had three plays she had written running at the same time. Her novels and her plays did so well that she had to form a company to avoid excessive taxation. Her most famous play was The Mousetrap. She said she had more fun writing plays than writing books.
Christie wrote so many novels some say she lost count. She was named a Dame of the British Empire in 1971. There is speculation that Agatha suffered from dementia in her later years even though she kept writing. Changes in the vocabulary and dialog of her later novels have been said by some to support this theory. There is an increasing preoccupation with older people in her writing, especially the novels Elephants Can Remember, and Postern of Fate.
She died in 1976. She spend much of her life avoiding the public, according to some because of the way the press found her and wrote about her when she was “hiding” after leaving her first husband—an incident she never spoke of or wrote about. She had her way and wrote her life story herself. She began writing her life story in 1950 and finished it in 1965. Her autobiography was published in 1977.
Her first novel was published in 1920, but it wasn’t until 1926 when her novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, gained recognition that her novels hit the best-selling lists. After this novel, 75 subsequent novels hit the best-seller lists in England and the United States. It featured perhaps her best-known character, Hercule Poirot. He was a Belgian detective in many of her books.
Poirot was described by the author as “a small man, muffled up to the ears of whom nothing was visible but a pink-tipped nose and the two points of an upward-curled mustache.” His detection methods spring from his ability to get people to talk and inventing fictitious backgrounds for himself in order to make this happen. This character was so popular, and some say so well written, that he is mentioned in textbooks that teach crime scene analysis.
Another character Christie used in novels was Miss Jane Marple. Like Poirot, this character has had significant impact. She is considered the source of what is termed, “The Spinster Detective.” The nice little old lady who is cunning and intelligent—who makes sense of crimes by comparing them to events in normal life.
Of her novels that were made into films, two stand out: Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile. The latter was even made into a video game. Murder on the Orient Express is perhaps her most famous piece. It has been a novel, a play, a movie, a TV movie, and a radio show.
In addition to her detective stories, Christie is the author of many poems, and some romances. Absent in the Spring, for example, was published in 1944 under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott.Book Series In Order » Authors »
John Curran, a lifelong Christie fan, lives in Dublin. For many years he edited the official Agatha Christie Newsletter and acted as a consultant to the National Trust during the restoration of Greenway House, Dame Agatha's Devon home. His first book, Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, which explores the contents of 73 hitherto unseen journals, has just been published.
Buy Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks at the Guardian bookshop
"Agatha Christie was the greatest exponent of the classical detective story. Her unique literary talents have crossed every boundary of age, race, class, geography and education. While she refined the template for a fictional form, the reading of her books became an international pastime. As we celebrate her 120th birthday these are my highlights of her literary career."
1. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
Hercule Poirot has retired to the village of King's Abbot to cultivate marrows. But when wealthy Roger Ackroyd is found stabbed in his study, he agrees to investigate. A typical village murder mystery; or so it seems until the last chapter with its stunning revelation. This title would still be discussed today even if Christie had never written another book. An unmissable, and still controversial, milestone of detective fiction.
2. Peril at End House (1932)
The impoverished owner of End House hosts a party where fireworks camouflage the shot that kills her cousin. Which of the other guests is a murderer? Perfectly paced, with subtle and ingenious clueing, and an unexpected but totally logical solution. Of its type, perfection; this is how the classic detective story should be written.
3. Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
The glamorous Orient Express stops during the night, blocked by snowdrifts. Next morning the mysterious Mr. Ratchett is found stabbed in his compartment and untrodden snow shows that the killer is still on board. This glamorous era of train travel provides Poirot with an international cast of suspects and one of his biggest challenges. Predicated on an inspired gimmick, this is one of the great surprise endings in the genre.
4. The ABC Murders (1935)
Despite advance warnings, Poirot is unable to prevent the murders of Alice Ascher, Betty Barnard and Carmichael Clarke. Can he stop the ABC Killer before he reaches D? One of the earliest examples of the "serial killer" novel this classic Christie is based on a beautifully simple premise. But how many readers are as clever as Poirot?
5. And Then There Were None (1939)
Ten people are invited to an island for the weekend. Although they all harbour a secret, they remain unsuspecting until they begin to die, one by one, until eventually … there are none. Panic ensues when the diminishing group realises that one of their own number is the killer. A perfect combination of thriller and detective story, this much-copied plot is Christie's greatest technical achievement.
6. Five Little Pigs (1943)
Sixteen years ago, Caroline Crale died in prison while serving a life sentence for poisoning her husband. Her daughter asks Poirot to investigate a possible miscarriage of justice and he approaches the other five suspects. This sublime novel is a subtle and ingenious detective story, an elegiac love story and a masterful example of storytelling technique, with five separate accounts of one devastating event. Christie's greatest achievement.
7. Crooked House (1949)
The Leonides family all live together in a not-so-little crooked house. But which of them poisoned the patriarch, Aristides? Murder in the extended family always provided fertile ground for Christie, and this was one of her own favourites. Another example of a sinister reinterpretation of a nursery rhyme with an ending that her publishers initially considered too shocking, even for Agatha Christie.
8. A Murder is Announced (1950)
In the village of Chipping Cleghorn, a murder is announced in the local paper's small ads. As Miss Blacklock's friends gather for what they fondly imagine will be a parlour game, an elaborate murder plot is set in motion. This was Christie's 50th title and remains Miss Marple's finest hour. Notable also for its setting in post-war Britain (a factor vital to the plot) this is arguably the last of the ingeniously clued and perfectly paced Christies.
9. Endless Night (1967)
Working-class Michael Rogers tells the story of his meeting and marrying Ellie, a fantastically rich American heiress. As they settle in their dream house in the country, it becomes clear that not everyone is happy for them. A very atypical Christie, this tale of menacing suspense builds to a horrific climax and shows that even after 45 years she had not lost the power to confound her readers. The best novel from her last 20 years.
10. Curtain: Poirot's Last Case (1975, but written during the second world war)
An old and frail Poirot returns to the scene of his first case, the country house Styles, now a guest-house. He summons his friend Hastings to help identify the killer he suspects is a fellow-guest. Christie uses every trick in the book to produce a unforgettable, yet poignant, swan song for the little Belgian. This novel was written during the Blitz and stored in a safe to be published after Christie's own death. It was actually published in October 1975 (Christie died in January 1976) and Poirot received a front-page obituary in the New York Times. In a lifetime of literary tours-de-force, this is the biggest shock of all.